fryer park, grove city

6 Columbus Area Parks for Toddlers

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These 6 Columbus area parks are great for toddlers!

Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes taking young kids to the park can be a frightening experience.  You look away for 5 seconds and all of a sudden your toddler is standing at the top of a climbing wall looking over a 10 foot drop off to the pavement below.  I like to take my toddlers to parks where they can roam freely without a lot of worry that their lack of impulse control (or balance) is going to send us on a trip to the ER.  But that’s just me.

I suppose I should make a disclaimer that most (all?) of the younger kids’ areas in the parks I’ve been to have signs saying the equipment is designed for ages 2-5.  I don’t know anyone who has waited until their kid was 2 to take them to a park, so that being said, I have chosen 6 parks with particularly toddler-friendly play areas:

1. Funk-ee-Town, Harrison Park, Harrison West

995 Harrison Park Pl., Columbus, OH 43201
No Restrooms Available

Harrison Park

Harrison Park

GREAT toddler area here!  No crazy heights, the small slide is enclosed at the top, and lots of opportunities for imaginative play – on the ground!  My kids love the snack shack and the house with the blue roof has drums and a xylophone to play on inside, as well as a steering wheel. While you’re in the area, check out some of these kid-friendly options in the Short North!

2.  Jeffrey Mansion and Park, Bexley

165 N. Parkview Ave, Bexley, OH 43209
Seasonal Restrooms Available

Jeffrey Mansion Park, Bexley

Jefferey Mansion Park, Bexley, Ohio

The toddler area here is fenced in, making it a perfect little play area just for the younger crowd!  There is tunnel to crawl through, a dinosaur slide and a play house.  As a bonus, the grounds here are beautiful and if you follow the path into the woods behind the park, you will encounter a boardwalk along Alum Creek! If you’re in Bexley, add a stop at Kittie’s or Gramercy Books to complete the morning!

3.  Schiller Park, German Village

1069 Jaeger St., Columbus, OH 43206
Restrooms Available

Train at Schiller Park, German Village

Slide at Schiller Park, German Village

This side of the playground at Schiller park is very toddler friendly.  Kids love these trains, and the play area behind it, seen in the picture, is specifically made for the toddler set.  It’s completely closed in, there’s a ramp and the slides are so slow my 4 year old got stuck.  😉 There are several baby/toddler swings here as well. Nearby, check out Winans for great coffee and chocolate!

4. Pingree Park, Worthington

374 Pingree Dr., Worthington, OH 43085
No Restrooms Available

Pingree Park, Worthington, OH

Pingree Park, Worthington, Ohio

Pingree Park, Worthington, Ohio

My kids had a lot of fun at this park!  There’s a toddler play set, infant/toddler swings and a small path around the park that does not cross a road or parking lot.  There are a couple of picnic tables and benches here that are convenient for snacking or eating a packed lunch.

Both of my kids, including my toddler, actually really had fun on the tunnel slide, though it specifically says for ages 5 and up.  They specifically enjoyed yelling “Paw Patrol!” from the top and then pretending to slide down into their respective vehicles.  So yes, I did basically yell out jobs for them for at least 20 minutes: “Marshall, I need you and your firetruck to go rescue a kitty from a tree . . .” and so on . . . It was fun. (Sarcasm font.)

5.  Discovery Frontier, Fryer Park, Grove City

3899 Orders Rd., Grove City, OH 43123
Restrooms Available

space themed park in Grove City, Ohio

Fryer Park, Grove City, Ohio

This park is toddler friendly because it is more about space than height.  And yes, I mean that literally and figuratively.  This space-themed park has a lot of area to run, hills to climb and also sand to play in.  My kids love running through the tunnel and up the hill that is the moon. While you’re in Grove City, check out their awesome library!

There are several toddler-sized structures to play on.  It’s hard to say exactly what space-themed things they are supposed to be, but none of them are very high off the ground, and that’s what matters.  At this park, there is also a pond with a path to walk. There are several toddler swings here and they are under umbrella cover for shade – another bonus!

6. Alum Creek Park North, Westerville

221 W. Main St., Westerville, OH 43081
Restrooms Available

Train Park, Westerville Ohio

Alum Creek Park North

Most of this park is geared toward older kids, but there are two things in particular make this park toddler-friendly and worth a visit.  One is the train, which is mainly at ground level with a tunnel to crawl through, benches to sit on inside and a small slide.  The second thing is the large sand pit.  I said it was toddler friendly, I didn’t promise your kids would stay clean.  😉 This park was one stop during our Playdate in Uptown Westerville – make sure to read to find out where we got donuts before hand! 😉

I have personally tried all of these parks with a toddler and lived to see another day!  I hope you and your little ones enjoy exploring a new park!  If you’re planning to pick up coffee on the way to the park, I featured two of these parks in my post Coffee+Park: 3 Parks Within Walking Distance of a Coffee Shop!

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ICYMI: 6 Free or Cheap Indoor Places for Kids to Run Wild in Columbus

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Two MORE Fun Libraries for Columbus Kids

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As I promised a few weeks ago, when I shared Two Fun Libraries for Columbus Kids, I’m sharing two MORE fun local libraries with you this week! If you’re tired of the same old, same old, these are some great options for a new outing with the kids!

1. Westerville Public Library

126 S. State St., Westerville, OH 43081, 614-882-7277

I love the trees in the Children’s Place!

The little kid’s area has a school bus . . .

a kitchen, puzzles . . .

a police car . . .

and a great view of the new Northstar! A visit to the library and a double chocolate cookie from Northstar sounds like a fun outing we need to put on the calendar! 😉

The Westerville Library has Drop-In Preschool Storytime, Rhyme Time, Yoga Tales and more! See the whole list of events for kids and families here!

2. Worthington Libraries, Northwest Library

2280 Hard Rd., Columbus, OH 43235, 614-807-2626

Northwest Library offers a unique area for kids called Story Garden! Around the children’s area, well known children’s stories are depicted in 3D!

It’s worth a trip to this library just to view this amazing artwork! Their website lists all of the stories depicted, including the author and a brief description of each story! Looking at the website, I see so many I missed on our visit!

Inside an area called Three Bears Cottage, there is a space for play for young children with lots of toys and seating!

Northwest Library currently has some kind of programming for children every weekday and at least one night a week! See the full calendar here.

What’s your favorite local library?

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ICYMI: 5 on Friday: Columbus Donuts


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5 on Friday: Columbus Bakeries

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These bakeries are kid-tested and approved! If you’re looking for a new place to get your sweet fix, give one of these local bakeries a try! You won’t be disappointed!

1. The Original Goodie Shop, Upper Arlington

Cookies, cakes, donuts, you name it! It’s all here! Easy parking, and really close to the Upper Arlington Library if you’re looking for a fun outing! We had cut out cookies and an amazing cinnamon stick (pictured below). I have it on good authority that the chocolate donuts are worthy of a fork and knife. #donutgoals

2116 Tremont Center, Upper Arlington, OH 43221

2. Laughlin’s Bakery, Short North

European Pastries in the cutest little shop in the Short North – one of my favorite shops in the area! There are cookies, breads, scones, and gluten free options, too! Head to Rocket Fizz, Big Fun or Italian Village Park for more fun!

15 E. 2nd Ave, Columbus OH 43201

3. Kittie’s, Bexley

This is the cookie that started my salted-chocolate chip obsession. Get it! You will NOT be disappointed. The boys and I shared this cookie – next time I’m going back for the whole thing! Plus, this location of Kittie’s is attached to Gramercy Books – a newly opened, independent bookstore! What a great combo!

2424 E Main St., Bexley, OH 43209

4. Sassafras Bakery, Worthington

Milk and Cookie Happy Hour (W-F, 3:00-5:00 PM) at Sassafrass Bakery means a free glass of milk or cup of coffee with each cookie purchased. They make this sound like it’s for the kids . . . but it’s really just an excuse for the adults to eat more cookies! 😉 Ummm…I also got the salted-chocolate chip cookie here, too. It was the container with the least amount of cookies in it, so that was my first clue it should be my choice! I chose wisely! (Oh yeah, the kids loved it, too!)

657 High St., Worthington, OH 43085

5. Dough Mama, Clintonville

Dough Mama is the home of my 3rd salted-chocolate chip cookie. Once you go salted, you never go back! This bakery has a lot of space for kids and is really close to Cover to Cover Books for Young Readers! A great combo you can read about here!

3335 N. High St. Columbus, OH 43214

The research for this post was painful, as you can imagine. 😉 What bakery should be next on our list?

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ICYMI: What Should We Do This Weekend? February 3-5, 2017


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